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ACK Computing 454 South Main Street
Northfield, VT 05663

802 485 4352

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This is an incomplete list – just the highlights here!  Call or write with specific questions.

Remember that if you have an internet connection you can look up stuff on the net and perhaps get some idea of what a “thing” does and why it might be on your computer.  There are some very evil sounding but harmless (even helpful) programs out there that you might want or even need to run your computer.

Google, Dogpile, Yahoo, and MSN are just a few of the available Search Engines on the Web.  Use search engines to research your questions, they are easy to use and often offer several answer sources allowing for a comparison and verification of the results.  – Or, CALL US!

The download of the free versions of “run on demand” tools such as Spyware Doctor, PCmatic, or Advanced System Care to be used in conjunction with McAfee, Norton, or PC-ilion is recommended.  Your subscription product is supposed to protect you on a daily basis from viruses, spam, and pop-ups; while products like Spyware Doctor should be used occasionally but regularly to guard against anything that got in behind your subscription service.  A subscription service will usually cost $40 to $90 for a one year subscription that allows for automatic updates as well as support calls.  Please note that you can have too much of a good thing; one primary protection for everyday and one “run on demand” protection package is probably sufficient.

For information regarding Free Spyware Protection click here.

Starting with the Vista Operating System, Microsoft has included automatic defragmentation.  Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft will automatically shut down your computer (with warning) such that your computer can properly install any pending updates.

Buy your computer with as much memory as you can afford - 2 GB is a good place to start.   Your Hard Drive size is not your memory size - it is not unusually to have three digits in your hard drive size (320 GB) and one (2 GB) for your memory amount.  Many new computer offer hard drives with Terabyte (1 TB = 1000+ GB ) sized drives.

If or when pop-up ads do invade your screen it is our recommendation that the user go immediately to the task bar at the bottom of the monitor and right click the pop-up button (assuming a right handed mouse) and close the pop-up here and not in the frame itself.

It is absolutely necessary to keep dust and dirt out of your computer.  The purchase of “canned air” or some way of carefully blowing/vacuuming the dust out of your computer every six months or so is recommended.  Never blow air into a fan that is running - these fans are not designed for this abuse.  A word of caution: never perform this action with the power on.  In fact, if you are going to blow air into your computer or even remove the case cover do so only after turning off the computer and unplugging the power source.  Be aware that static shock is not good for your computer so make sure to ground yourself before working on it.

A special note about laptops - they tend to “run hot”.  Buying a laptop cooling tray with built in fans may help to extend the life of your laptop and will probably help it perform better. 

It should go without saying that you should keep your Windows operating System up-to-date either automatically or by manually updating; go to your Start button and search for Windows Updates to do this manually or while on the internet click on the Tools button and select the update option from that menu.

ACK recommends that you go directly to a web site for any update.  Example: a window pops up telling you that a Java update is available - click the message off and at your convenience got to and proceed to download it.  Java and Adobe get used in everything - they also get hacked a lot - PROTECT YOURSELF by keeping them updated.  HOWEVER nothing is free so please look for those “pre-checked” add on downloads that come with your “free” download.

A Pop-up blocker and Anti Phishing service have been provided by Microsoft since Internet Explorer (IE) version 7.  Be aware that older operating systems such as ME and Windows 2000 may not work well with IE 7 & 8 and XP won’t work with IE 9.

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Free Spyware Protection - use at your own risk

Spybot makes a great back-up and full time protection system no matter what day to day protection you are using.  You can find free products and download then from our “Freeware” web page;

Whether you pay for your protection or use a Freeware version, keep the program up-to-date for the best protection.  There are NO products out there that are free from attacks by the “Bad People” which is why we recommend back-up protection that you can “run on demand” to clean up any loose ends.

ACK makes several anti Spyware / Virus suggestions available from our Web Site.  If we have installed one of these on your machine it is most likely the FREE version.  These free versions should be updated regularly.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, as with any scanning software do not assume that all of the stuff that gets labeled bad is in fact bad.  We cannot stress enough that the user should research any unfamiliar program names before deleting, even if that means doing so from another computer. 

Please note: Ad Aware does not play (at all) with Norton.
Advanced System Care is another Free product that we feel is very good and is quite easy to us.

Advanced System Care can be used as a Manual Protection program that will not interfere with your subscription protection.  You do not need to turn off your current protection to run Advanced System Care.  Run this program as often as you feel necessary; daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annually … If your computer has slowed down recently – run this program, then after it is done turn it off and update your full time protection and force that to do a scan as well.

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